Search, vigil continues

Light rain helped calm area waters on Tuesday, but didn’t slow the search for a Walker man who drowned after jumping off a boat to swim in Lake Michigan two days earlier.
Becky Vargo
Jul 3, 2013

John English, 47, was on a boat with several friends when they stopped to take a swim about 4 p.m. Sunday offshore of North Beach Park in Ferrysburg.

English dove into the 60- to 65-degree water, surfaced and appeared to be in distress, said Lt. Steve Kempker of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. His friends tried to throw him a life ring, but he disappeared under the water.

Michigan State Police joined the recovery effort Tuesday with a boat and another side-scan sonar, Kempker said. Six boats with 12 personnel were on the water until 7 p.m. — three marine patrol craft from the Sheriff’s Department, and one each from the state police, Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department and Norton Shores Police-Fire Department.

Kempker said they were operating five side-scan sonar devices and had expanded their search area by about a half-mile in each direction. With the changes in the currents and riptides, English’s body could be just about anywhere, he said.

Kempker said a few "hits" with the scanners turned out to be large tree branches.

The search was suspended at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Kempker said they plan to continue the search today and re-evaluate what to do on the Fourth of July.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.